|KARTIKEYA WITH HIS WIVES VALLI AND DEVAYANI
Once a person by name Narada came to Kartikeya and said, "O Lord, I was
performing the sacred 'Ajamedha' sacrifice. But, the 'ajar' (goat) that is to
be killed and offered as sacrifice has disappeared. I have searched in vain.
Some gods or Rakshasas must have taken it away. The sacrificial rites have come
to a halt. You are the protector of all sacrifices and the Lord of the Universe.
You are the son of Shiva, the highest deity in any sacrifice. You protect those
who are supplicants and fulfill the desires of all virtuous persons. Please get
back for me that goat so that my ritual may be completed."
|KARTIKEYA IN THE SOUTH IS ALSO KNOWN AS MURUGA
|MURUGAN - THE CHASTE BOY
Kartikeya sent Veerabahu, one of heroes, to search for Narada's goat. There was
no sign of that goat anywhere in the world. Then Veerabahu went to Vaikunta,
the world of Mahavishnu, and found it there. He learnt that as ordered by Vishnu,
his men had taken the goat there to protect its life. Veerabahu brought the goat
to Kartikeya. But Kartikeya kept quiet, without immediately handing over the
goat to Narada. Thereupon Narada requested again and said, "Lord, please
get me my goat. I will make a sacrificial offering of it and complete my yajna."
"Look, the killing of any animal," Kartikeya told him, "is not
correct, for performing any Yajna (sacrifice). The Vedas, which are our ancient
religious texts, do not prescribe it. Any yajna has to be performed in a non-violent
manner. The word 'Aja', which stands for a goat, also means that which is not
born, meaning rice. So 'Ajamedha' is the Yajna wherein boiled rice is offered
to the fire-god, Agni. So complete your Yajna eschewing violence. Then you will
get the full credit and profit from the sacrifice."
Narada accepted this learned exposition of the Yajna. He took the goat with Kartikeya's
permission, but did not kill it, and brought it up. He performed his Yajna in
a non-violent manner and set an ideal for the future generations.
Kartikeya's strength was immense. Once as a boy, he thrust his spear into the
ground challenging anybody to pull it out or even to shake it. God Vishnu took
hold of this lance and moved it a bit with his, left hand. The result was disastrous;
the whole earth shook and the seas, the forests, the mountains started shaking
badly. Even the son of Hiranyakashipu, Prahalad, who was the beloved of Vishnu
and very strong, could not move it a bit and fainted while attempting the feat.
It seems that once in ancient times the worship of Kartikeya was much more widespread.
Patanjali mentions about his images in homes and temples. The coins of Kushan
kings bear his name and under the Gupta kings he was worshipped in the whole
of northern India. He was also the favorite deity of Chalukya dynasty kings.
In southern India he is still widely worshipped. Several deities of the south
are associated with him, e.g., Murugan (the chaste boy), Velam (the spear-bearer)
and Seyyavan (the red-one).
On the last evening of the month of Kartik, the clay image of this god Kartikeya
is worshipped and then submerged next lay in the river. At every great festival
associated with mother goddess Durga, his image is also made and set up by her
side. Many people, especially females worship this god to have a male offspring.